Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Philosophical Ramblings (Or, Why I Love Pleasure and Hate Nihilism)

So I said that I took a Philosophy quiz/questionnaire the other day, and I'd like to share it. I really think it says something about me:


You scored as Hedonism. Your life is guided by the principles of
Hedonism: You believe that pleasure is a great, or the greatest,
good; and you try to enjoy life’s pleasures as much as you can.

“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!”

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...

Hedonism


90%

Utilitarianism


70%

Existentialism


60%

Kantianism


60%

Justice (Fairness)


55%

Divine Command


50%

Apathy


45%

Strong Egoism


35%

Nihilism


5%

What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with QuizFarm.com


There are some very interesting results on that chart. Let's take a look at each one (at least, my best understanding of each).

Hedonism - Hedonism, as you read above, the the belief that our primary goal in life is (or should be) pleasure. Truth be told, I think this hits the nail smack dab on the head for me. I think everyone in the world has both the right and the ability to be happy. And I don't necessarily think the pleasure need come from physical or worldly things. I think intellectual or emotional pleasure is incredibly powerful. Basically, I feel that God wants us to be happy (think about it: happiness is a greater - and more powerful - feeling than sadness, so why would the greatest being in existence not want it for us?). Now, this doesn't mean I just want myself to be happy. No, that brings us to my second-highest philosophy.

Utilitarianism - Utilitarianism is pretty easy to comprehend: the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This, too, is something I'm pretty sure I believe in and practice. Heck, even some of my earlier posts have utilitarian influences. I don't know how to explain why I support this philosophy without just repeating what it is. Yes, there are some quandaries that could arise (if given the choice, would it be better to save a small town from blowing up, or save the life of a man who's on the verge of finding the cure for cancer? Hmm...), but overall, it seems to be pretty solid...in my humble opinion.

Existentialism - Exitentialism is the belief that humans have complete control over their lives/meanings/purposes/etc. Basically, you're responsible for yourself and your place in this world. 'Tain't a bad philosophy at all. I don't agree with it 100% (in fact, I obviously only agree with it 60%), but it seems good in that it says that people have the ability to make something out of their lives.

Kantianism - Kantianism basically means that you have some underlying goal or principle in your life, and you hope to have all your actions directed by this and based upon reason. Personally, this seems like a pretty nebulous idea for a philosophy. I guess I do let reason guide me sometimes, but other times I just don't seem to make sense. Sometimes, it seems as though I'm anything but consistent.

Justice (Fairness) - I was going to say that everyone knows what justice is, but really, does anyone know what justice is? Is it "an eye for an eye" (definitely retributive justice) or does it have more Utilitarian layers? Is it equality? (On that last question, I would definitely say "no".) The maker of the quiz says that it has to do with being rewarded or punished based on the good or harm you do. This definitely sounds good, but then there's always Ghandi's words: "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." And there's always the ability to transcend justice and gain real power...

Divine Command - This is what it sounds like: you god and your religion dictate your actions. When I did a report about Spirituality in my RA Training over a year ago, I included this quote:
“People always wonder what the ‘one true faith’ is. Well, the way I see it, the one true faith is the human faith. It is the belief that all people have dignity and are worthy of love and care. This faith is split up into many little pieces – we call these religions. They help personalize the faith, they specially tailor it for each person. In the end, though, we need to see that they’re all pointing in the same direction. Only then can we move in that right direction.”
I said that the source was unknown, but that's just my codeword for "Andrew Schnorr". Basically, I think religion is a beneficial thing, but not if people follow blindly. When humans are involved in anything, the possibility for human error is always there, and that sometimes is the case for religion as well.

Apathy - Meh.

Strong Egoism - For someone as Narcissistic as myself, one might be surprised how low this got rated. However, I think that when it really comes down to it, I care about the happiness of others. And really, egoism ain't that great of a philosophy. If everyone followed it, we wouldn't have lasted very long as a civilization.

Nihilism - Okay, before I continue, let me just say that Nihilism is complete and total BS. This probably reflects in the fact that I scored as low on it as you can in one of these quizzes. Basically, Nihilism says that there is no god, no morals, no truths, no point to the world. That nothing you do makes a difference. That life and everything in it is meaningless. Personally, I find that to be the worst possible attitude you could ever have. I mean, why would you think like that? And how the hell are any of these people still alive? It seems like its the perfect suicidal philosophy. It's a completely worthless idea, in my opinion. It brings nothing good to the table of life. Bah!


So, now that we've laid all that on the table, let me make a final small analysis. Basically, my overriding philosophy is hedonism with a splash of utilitarianism. How does this fit into my life? Well, I consider myself an entertainer of sorts. (You may have even found yourself entertained while reading some of my blog...maybe.) I find that in almost every conversation I have, I try to find a way to make others laugh...multiple times. After all, laughing is a pleasure. It makes people happy. And isn't it a great thing to make a bunch of people happier? In turn, bringing pleasure to others gives me more pleasure. And if everyone's happier, isn't that the greatest good we can hope for? I think so. So, I think this quiz has my number down.

...Wow, that's a lot of analysis for one little quiz. The creator should be proud. But what about the rest of you? I'd like to hear your thoughts on my analysis of my own philosophical beliefs, and I'd like to see what you score. Take the quiz; it shouldn't take more than ten minutes. I'm interested in hearing your results (hopefully the comments section can manage those fancy little graphs).

Until next time, smile! ^_^

4 comments:

ashley lystne said...

I got 95% Existentialism and 85% Egoism. I think that sums things up pretty well.

Christopher said...

Hmmm, I got some interesting results as well:

Existentialism - 95%
Utilitarianism - 85%
Hedonism - 65%
Kantianism - 65%
Justice (Fairness) - 55%
Nihilism - 15%
Strong Egoism - 5%
Apathy - 5%
Divine Command - 0%

So, basically, this means I'm a libertarian socialist who's pleasure seeking and equally goal oriented, has a fondness of justice (more distributive justice in my case), believes all but 15% of existance has purpose, has a small ego, detests apathy 95% of the time and poo-poos religion.

Gee, sounds right to me, although I thought I would be more of an egoist.

-Comrade Chavez

Christopher said...

As for your analysis, I would say that's pretty true of yourself. I can testify that you're both funny and yet, I do see a major utilitarian side of you. The hedonism though at first suprised me, as I've always seen you a bit more reserved in terms of pleasures. However, I may have confused hedonism with epicurism - pleasure can be derived out of anything, not just carnal or physical pleasures. I'm also suprised to see that you're a religiously moderate, I've always saw you as being more devout, but hey, considering where I am, everyone's more devout than me!

This is a good post, my friend. I agree, whoever came up with this test should be proud.

-Comrade Chavez

Squall said...

Existentialism 85%
Justice (Fairness)80%
Divine Command 75%
Utilitarianism 75%
Strong Egoism 55%
Hedonism 50%
Kantianism 50%
Apathy 25%
Nihilism 5%

Sorry for the late comment. Check my blog for a more in depth commentary.